By Craig Satterfield, ECCS

I think we can all agree that marketing your business in these modern times is very different than it was even 5 years ago and changes every day.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed just trying to learn more about the technical terms and procedures on my mobile phone!  If you are involved in on line marketing, which is critical for business growth these days, you may have considered video to add to your arsenal of blogs, social media, and email newsletters.  If your plans are to move ahead in marketing, video is the way to go.  It is the way to get the edge on your competition and show that you are an expert at what you do.  

Video gives you a great opportunity to create quality content based upon your expertise.  The more video you can get out there the more you can share the fact that you are the travel professional to work with.  Many of you are committed to a travel niche to build your businesses.  Video is the perfect way to show the World that you are an authority in your niche.  A video of you explaining a specialty or reporting from a specific location speaks volumes to your expertise.  

Video works because it drives home your message to the person watching.  This is the best way to be able to repeat your message and name several times so it gets stuck in your potential client’s memory.  We get so much advertising every day it is hard to get your message across and have it remembered.  Video is a great branding tool as well.  

Videos are powerful tools on your website too.  Statistics tell us that videos are some of the first things visitors to your site will click on.  After watching, they will go further to find out more information to what they have just learned from your video presentation.  

Another benefit of video is the positioning of your website on search engines.  They say that it is 50% more likely that your site will be listed on page 1 on Google if you have a website with videos.  In our business that is a very valuable position to be in.  It is also proven that videos create a much higher retention rate than mere words.  They say a picture is worth a 1000 words?  How about a one minute video which equates to 1.9 million written words.  To prove it take a look at the analytics page on Youtube.com.    You will see the average view duration from your videos as well as a table with the top 200 videos and the estimated minutes they were watched.  This is very valuable info to determine that your videos are doing their job.

We understand a video of about 2 minutes duration is the best at capturing the viewer’s attention. You want them to watch the entire presentation.  Keep it to the point as the viewer will then move on to your supporting information on your website.  Hopefully they will contact you via your email link for more specific information.  What a great way to develop new customers.  People love to share their plans with friends and videos are a perfect vehicle to show off.  It could get you referral business too.

Create a Youtube channel so you can also upload your videos directly on to it as well as your website.  Be sure to use your name, your company and your niche to make it easier for your videos to be found via the search on Youtube. A strong title to the video is also critical for placement in all of the search engines. Be sure to list your website address and a call to action on the video if the viewer goes to your Youtube videos first and not from your website.  You want to keep them informed on how to contact you.  

How do I get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice the old chestnut goes.  It is so much easier these days to produce a high quality video for next to nothing.  That doesn’t mean that a poor quality video is just as good ….far from it.  A quality presentation is your first introduction to potential clients proving your professionalism and expertise. Practice in front of the camera and with the microphone.  Most people do not like the sound of their own voice on recordings but this is something you will get used to.  Speaking on a video is a lot different that speaking to your client from across the desk.  Practice will make you feel much more confident.  

This tool is way too valuable to scrap because you don’t like the way you look or sound on videos.  There are coaches out there that you can contact either via the net or from your local junior college.  They can help you become more comfortable with the camera and you’re speaking voice.  

Have a production location in place at your office or home if you are not reporting from the actual destination.  Remember people are looking at you on the video so make sure the lighting is good on your face.  Close-up shots avoid distractions from things around you that could move the attention of the viewer off the subject.  If you are shooting on location, make sure your microphone is close and your narration is clear without a lot of background noises.  Trying to hear what you say is another thing that can turn off a viewer.  

Plan a shooting schedule so you can present new material on a regular basis.  This should be a major part of your overall marketing plan.  Plan a series of videos to be presented on a schedule over the next few months and monitor them on how they are being watched and if you are getting leads from them.  You could also work with your BDM to obtain video material to fill out the presentation and tie in a sale or marketing plan on the same subject. Be sure you are informative and helpful but not pushy during your very informative presentation.

Some of you like to set up speaking engagements with potential group leaders and special interest groups.  A video is an excellent way to present “you” as an expert in travel.  Use it as a resume for meeting planners to book you for an upcoming meeting.

Being approachable and authentic is important in producing good videos.  Allow your followers and clients to interact with you.  Have a way for them to submit questions, comments and suggestions regarding your series of videos. You will use them to plan future presentations as well as find ways to improve your video persona.

Remember have fun with it.